How can I record a conference with a Sound Grabber II?

I am interested in finding out more about the Sound Grabber II conference microphone. Does it work alone or in conjunction with other technology? I am traveling to a conference and would like to bring some kind of conference microphone that is portable. I'd like to record a conference of about 20 people onto a laptop computer.
Lois O'Neill, Electronic Resources/Reference Librarian Adelphi University Libraries

Reply: The Sound Grabber II battery-powered microphone lies flat in the center of a conference table. Typically the mic plugs into a laptop sound card, portable cassette recorder or flash memory recorder. The Sound Grabber II can connect to any kind of audio system that has a 1/8" or 1/4" phone-jack mic input connector. If your audio system has an XLR (3-pin) mic connector, I'd recommend the Crown PZM-185. It's the same as the Sound Grabber II but has an XLR connector.

Nearly all computer sound cards have a 1/8" diameter mic input connector, so the Sound Grabber II should plug into it with no problem. The sound-card mic-input connector looks like a 1/8" diameter hole surrounded by a pink ring, with a microphone icon nearby.

To record the conference, you will need some kind of recording software. A freeware recording program is Audacity from You'll need to spend a little time learning how to use it. It records audio from your microphone onto your laptop's hard drive as a .wav file or .mp3 file.

A 1-hour wav recording will consume about 600 MB, which is a lot. You might prefer to export the recording as an MP3 file, which usually sounds good enough and consumes about 60 MB for a 1-hour recording. You'll need to download a "lame encoder dll" file for this to work. Audacity tells you about it.

A professional quality recording system would include a USB audio interface and a laptop. The interface has one or two XLR mic connectors, high-quality (low noise) electronics, and a USB connector that connects to the USB connector in your laptop. A recording made with a sound card has a little more background noise (hiss) than a recording made with an audio interface. But the sound-card recording might be adequate for your needs.